My plan is to have about 20 to 25 buildings of different types on my HO scale layout and I’d like to light them all from inside. Already existing is a 12V DC bus which provides power for a turntable motor and for a short narrow-gauge railway that runs from a station on the DCC-powered main line. My thinking is to tap into this bus at three locations and to run a feed to each of the three “towns” on the layout.
Each town will have five to ten buildings and the plan is to wire those buildings as a town group with a potentiometer to control each town group. The three potentiometers will allow differing levels of lighting from one town to another.
In each of the three towns some buildings will have two interior lights (say, a double-story pub) or a two-roomed station building (waiting room and office) and so there might be 40 to 50 individual lights.
My impression from what I’ve read and seen is that LEDs are better than other forms of lighting because they don’t heat-up and there’s no danger of melting fittings. As for colour, it seems that warm white LEDs will give the best lighting effect. I’m aware that I might need resistors if I use LEDs, depending on the type used.
I might also install 10 to 12 street lights but perhaps they would be best on a separate circuit – not sure about that.
That’s my plan. Questions that I have are:
1. Is 12V DC the best type of power supply for interior lighting?
2. If so, would a separate power supply be better than tapping into the existing one?
3. Are potentiometers the best way to adjust lighting levels?
4. If potentiometers are best, are there any necessary specifications that they should have?
5. Are LEDs the best way to provide lighting?
6. If so, is warm white the best colour?
7. If resistors are required, does each LED need a resistor or could one resistor serve a town group of LEDs?
8. If one resistor would serve a group, would it be in the circuit before or after the potentiometer?
9. How important is viewing angle of the LEDs? (I see LEDs advertised with viewing angles of 15 to 120 degrees.)
10. Is there any other advice that could be useful?
Thanks in advance for any responses.